Celtic FC Women have announced the arrival of Lewes FC Women first team manager Fran Alonso as their new head coach.
Alonso's resignation was announced yesterday (Tuesday 14) afternoon on Lewes FC's official club website.
In a statement, Alonso thanked Lewes for his 13-month spell in charge. He said: : “Coming to Lewes FC has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I enjoyed every minute at the Club and in the town and I am sad to leave.
"The Club has been always great to me and to my family and I am forever grateful, I leave so many good friends and I look forward to seeing Lewes FC achieve their ambitious goals, which I am sure they will.
"Huge thank you to the chairman, the board of directors, the GMs, the players, staff and fans for sharing with me this fantastic journey. “
Celtic announced the appointment of Alonso just two hours later and, speaking on the club website, Alonso said: “When Celtic want you, you can’t say no.
"It is one of the world’s truly great football clubs and one I know which has made a huge commitment to developing its women’s team.
"Celtic is about passion, heart and soul, about the love of great attacking football and about a great family spirit and that is what attracted me to this role.
"I know the team are very together, focused on the future and focused on improving and committed to working hard to achieve our objectives. I also know that Celtic has real ambition and purpose around its women’s team and I wanted to be a major part of that."
The announcement comes a week after the Ghirls announced they would be turning professional for the first time in their 13-year history.
Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell said: "We are really pleased to have been able to secure Fran as our new Head Coach and everyone at Celtic is delighted to welcome him to the club. We really look forward to working with him.
“We know he has real pedigree as a coach and we are sure he will make a very positive contribution to the team, within our new exciting structure."
Gordon Kaye, Celtic’s Head of Business Development said: "We are delighted to be leading the way in this area in Scotland and we are sure our move to professional status is one which will be hugely beneficial for the club and our players.
“Our new professional arrangement aims to provide the same opportunities for women wishing to play the game at all levels as we currently do for men - as a club famously open to all, this is hugely important to us.
"Building on recent progress, our objective will always be to aim higher and achieve more success and we believe our new professional status will allow us to do this. While we realise reaching the top spot in Scotland may not happen overnight, we always want to be the best in all we do and this is absolutely something we aspire to.
"It is a very exciting time for women's football and we are delighted to be driving forward with these exciting new plans."
On Lewes' website, the Co-Head of Women's Football at the Championship club, Roger Warner, said: “We truly wish Fran all the best. Of course, it's been a tough few months on the pitch, but Fran has created so many positive changes at Lewes from which we can now build.
Assistant manager Simon Parker will now take immediate charge of the Lewes FC Women first team with his first game coming this Sunday (January 19), at home to London Bees.
Kick-off is at 2pm.